WCLA resumes routine inspections after lifting of the alcohol ban
WCLA resumes routine inspections after lifting of the alcohol ban, attends to 362 complaints since 27 March
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, welcomes the enforcement operations conducted by the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) between 1 – 7 February 2021 in communities including Atlantis, Steenberg, Retreat, Khayelitsha and Nomzamo. Between 27 March 2020 and 5 February 2021, the WCLA has further conducted 362 investigations into license holders who reportedly contravened the law.
Minister Fritz said, “The reopening of the economy and the lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol are welcomed steps in balancing the need to save lives and livelihoods. However, we must ensure that the reopening of the economy is done safely, and that every step is taken to prevent alcohol related harms.”
Between 1 and 7 February 2021, the WCLA conducted 44 inspections following the return to trading for liquor businesses. These operations resulted in:
4Liquor Licensing Tribunal (LLT) requests attended to; 5 complaints investigated, 1 Notice from the LLT served, 2 Compliance Certificates issued, 1 Compliance Notice issued, 2 unlicensed premises visited where notices were issued and 2 non non-compliance reports were submitted to the prosecutor;
- An autonomous operation was held by Liquor Inspectors in the Mossel Bay/Groot Brak precinct. All premises were found to be compliant and all protocols in terms of the regulations were followed;
- In Table View, a complaint about lack of social distancing and mask wearing was investigated. The premises were found to have hand sanitizer available at the entrance, but stricter COVID-19 safety measures were needed. They were issued with a warning; and
- An integrated operation with Law Enforcement was held in Khayelitsha, Nomzamo and Strand during which 12 licenced premises were visited, 1 Section 73 report was submitted for prosecution, 2 Section 20 Notices were served and 1 LLT request was attended to.
Minister Fritz said, “The WCLA has consistently contributed to the reduction of alcohol related harms through their enforcement operations. They have further ensured that license holders operate within the ambit of law, adhering to both the National Disaster Risk Management Act’s Regulations and Western Cape Liquor Act.”
Of the WCLA’s 362 investigations since 27 March 2020, 96 section 71 matters were placed on the LLT case roll of which:
- 55 licences were suspended;
- 23 applications were dismissed;
- 17 applications referred to the Prosecutor; and
- 1 application withdrawn.
Of the 55 licences that were suspended, 54 section 71(4) return hearings took place, in which:
- 1 licence was revoked after finalisation of a section 20 consideration;
- 50 suspensions were lifted by the Liquor Licensing Tribunal;
- 1 suspension was confirmed, and the licence remains suspended;
- 2 suspensions were lifted, 1 in the High Court and 1 as part of internal Appeal Tribunal proceedings; and
- 1 return hearing is pending.
In total, 81 COVID-19 related section 20 matters were forwarded to the LLT, of which:
- 3 licences were revoked;
- 5 applications dismissed;
- In 4 matters the licensee was issued with stricter conditions;
- 7 licences were suspended;
- 1 licence was cancelled;
- 1 application was referred back to the Prosecutor; and
- 29 matters are currently pending.
Minister Fritz said, “In 31 matters, fines to the amount of R2.86 million, of which an amount of R1.6 million was suspended for a period of 24 months on condition that the licence holder does not contravene the Act and licence conditions again during this period. Let this be a stern warning to license holders operate outside of the ambit of the law.”